May 17, 2022

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Madison city engineer retiring after 33 years of infrastructure projects | Local Government

Madison City Engineer Rob Phillips has had a hand in some of the community’s most significant infrastructure initiatives — ranging from the development of John Nolen Push to updating quite a few miles of East Washington Avenue.

Phillips was born in Madison before his family members moved to Kimberly, where he grew up. He graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor of science diploma in civil and environmental engineering in 1987. After about a calendar year doing work in Milwaukee, Phillips returned to Madison, exactly where he’s invested the final 33 several years with the town — with the earlier 12 decades in his current purpose.

Following extra than 3 a long time with Madison’s engineering division, Phillips, 59, will retire in early May perhaps.

Your father experienced an engineering business when you had been increasing up, but I understand it wasn’t your to start with selection to abide by that path?

I didn’t begin out offered on engineering. I started out out contemplating I was heading to go into organization and then soon after a pair of a long time I realized that probably engineering was a far better fit for me.

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I consider it was additional my fascination. There is a creative side to me that likes to figure items out and fix issues, it is anything I just really enjoy accomplishing and certainly I had a large amount of publicity to engineering expanding up — it’s what we talked about at the dinner table. So I just think it was a far better healthy for me and now all these many years afterwards I’m specified that was the case.

Can you convey to me a little bit about how factors have improved given that you joined the city in 1988?

When I arrived listed here in Madison, there was a transition going on within the industry because all people was drafting with pen on paper or Mylar — drawing by hand was the way items were done. We had a good deal of younger engineers at the time and we truly had been pushing for adjust, pushing for the know-how. We didn’t want to be still left at the rear of and we ended up truly intrigued in creating that changeover. … It was a several decades right after I received there, but we acquired that up and operating and we have been rather very pleased of that.

There was some fascination in potentially shifting city staff out of the Municipal Making to open up up the probability of a lodge in that region. You advocated for the city to preserve the setting up?

A single venture that truly stands out is the Madison Municipal Building. In a way, I feel the most significant point that we did though I was here was make sure that that building remained a municipal setting up.

There was an desire, and there still is, to get yet another resort in proximity to the convention heart. So there was some imagined, because that is these kinds of a awesome site, that it would be included into a resort in some sort.

I’m just so pleased that we have been in a position to keep that developing below town possession.

What is 1 of the greatest worries of the career?

Infrastructure is seriously what this career is about — constructing it, preserving it and rebuilding it. A lot of the Downtown, Near East and In close proximity to West sides are perfectly above 100 yrs previous. Prioritizing what is essential and acquiring the desired initiatives authorised and designed is a large undertaking. We have rebuilt most of the significant streets serving the Downtown around my time with the town.

We have also confronted the impacts of climate alter, and this has develop into a considerably bigger difficulty around the very last 10 years. We have only started to deal with the require to rebuild stormwater-connected infrastructure through the town whilst incorporating environmentally friendly remedies these as rain gardens and infiltration basins. I consider what we did whilst I was in this article was complicated to be certain, but thoroughly addressing local climate alter will be a monumental job going ahead. I consider we are off to a excellent get started and my staff has what it normally takes to get our section to tackle climate alter done.

Anything at all else you’d like to add?

I would just like to say how appreciative I am of my staff members. They are a talented and focused bunch. Great quality men and women in the engineering division and the town as a total. We definitely would not have been capable to execute what we did with no these folks.

“Infrastructure is really what this position is about — developing it, keeping it and rebuilding it.”

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